In one of the deadliest suicide attacks in Afghanistan this year, at least one suicide bomber killed at least 26 Afghans, half of them civilians, in a crowded market in southern Afghanistan on Monday night, Afghan officials said.
One bomber walked up to a truck full of policemen in one of the main markets in the town of Gereshk, Helmand Province, and detonated his explosive, Gereshk district chief Abdul Manaf said.
The bomb or bombs killed 13 policemen and 13 pedestrians. At least 24 were wounded.
"The bodies were burned beyond recognition," Manaf said.
The attack came two days after the UN said 103 suicide bombings had been carried out in Afghanistan in the first eight months of this year, a 69 percent increase over the same period last year.
The report said suicide attacks are on a pace to exceed the record 123 bombings carried out last year.
Monday's death toll appeared to be higher than an attack in Kabul in June, when a suicide bomber boarded a bus carrying Afghan police trainers and detonated his charge, killing 24 people and wounding 35 others.
More than 225 people have died in bombings this year, Afghan and UN officials said, while 305 died last year.
Meanwhile, a suicide car bomb exploded yesterday near a convoy of trucks supplying NATO military bases in southern Afghanistan, killing at least two drivers, police said.
"There was a suicide car bombing against a supply convoy that was on the highway," Helmand police chief Mohammad Hussain Andiwal said.
The bodies of two drivers were pulled from the wreckage and seven civilians were wounded, he said.